Oh noes! Big Science iz in ur Skool Bored, bashin ur Yung Erf Creashunists

Why oh why do they hate the Ceiling Cat so much? In what will doubtless be trumpeted as more suppression of “free speech” by Dr. Evil and the Nazi Darwinist Stormtroopers of “Big Science,” the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board took a big fat sanity pill and unanimously denied the request of the Institute for Creation Research to be granted certification to offer a master’s degree program in science education in Texas.

The reason is, of course, obvious. Young Earth Creationism is in about as complete a state of opposition to actual science as the movies of Pauly Shore are to actual comedy. There is just a contingent of ideologues among the Christian faithful who simply cannot comprehend that it is not the purpose of science to validate preconceived religious beliefs, however precious those beliefs are to those who hold them. And in their bleating over the supposed denial of any “free exchange of ideas” in an academic setting, they are, of course, failing to make another meaningful distinction: free speech and free inquiry are not synonyms for “you get to teach whatever you want, even if it’s false, if enough people believe it.” Each person is entitled to their own opinions and beliefs; what you are not entitled to are your own facts.

But at least the creationists can take some cold comfort in the fact they aren’t the only ones being oppressed by the dogmatic, iron fist of “Big Science”!

Expelled performed below original estimate

The weekend actuals are in, and the $3.1 million estimate for Expelled that was holding as of Sunday afternoon has been downgraded to $2.97 million, with the movie coming in 10th rather than 9th place.

Anticipating an average second weekend dropoff of 50%-65% (which is what you see with most movies), I don’t think this has been the shot fired across the bow of “Big Science” that Mark Mathis and Walt Ruloff were anticipating. But as Eugenie Scott has pointed out, the movie will have a long DVD lifespan, playing the church-basement circuit.

Summation: well, that was over with pretty quick, eh? So, let’s all get back to doing science again, shall we.


Addendum: IMDb is declaring the movie a flop in their weekend box office roundup, and I like the honest way they describe it.

…the Ben Stein documentary Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed, which argued on behalf of “intelligent design” — that is, the biblical view of creation — failed to bring out church groups in big numbers and settled for just $3.1 million to wind up in ninth place.

Good call, IMDb, for seeing through the pseudoscientific window dressing and recognizing that, yes, “intelligent design” is nothing more than old school Biblical creationism tricked out in jargon designed to wow the uninformed and illiterate. “Ooo, ‘complex specified information,’ sure sounds like summa that thar science type stuff ta me!”

(In other movie news, some dumbass working on the new Bond film ran the movie’s quarter-million-dollar Aston Martin off the road and into a lake. I think he’ll be a long time paying that off. Fail!)

There Will Be Blood: The critics have at Expelled

As happens with all shitty movies, the distributor for Expelled declined to screen the movie in advance for critics. Indeed, we know they kept their advance screenings a tightly controlled series of fundie lovefests, expelling any knowledgeable, scientifically literate viewer if they were able. After all, in a movie that beats the “free speech” and “academic freedom” drums long and loud, it’s certainly very important to keep opposing views silent, eh?

But now real movie reviewers are getting a chance to eyeball the film, and the results aren’t pretty. It will be interesting to hear how Stein and Mathis and their usual gang of idiots try to spin this as the expected reaction from a liberal Darwinist cabal hostile to competing ideas, considering that these are just movie reviewers who are going to see the film as part of their weekly roster along with everything else. They really can’t be said to have a horse in the creation-vs-evolution race. Which is also true about most people who don’t make the atheist/science/Christian/creationist blogosphere part of their daily routine. And the movie’s emotional caterwauling is unlikely to sway or even interest them. There’s such a thing as overkill, and even unsophisticated audiences will recoil if they think they’re being beaten over the head.

Expelled is currently tracking at 9% on Rotten Tomatoes. By comparison, here is the critical scorecard for the works of self-proclaimed genius auteur Uwe Boll: House of the Dead: 4%. Alone in the Dark: 1%. Bloodrayne: 4%. In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale: 5%.

Thus I’d like to offer Nathan Frankowski my congratulations on being able to boast that he is a more critically acclaimed director than Uwe Boll.

I’ve posted some choice reviewers’ quotations in the sidebar. Now it will be entertaining to see how the opening weekend pans out. Since Premise Media actually managed to get the thing on over 1000 screens, the heat is on far more crucially than if they’d opened in limited release and then done a regional release pattern throughout the rest of the summer. If they don’t score huge numbers this weekend, they’re losing their shirts in a way they would not have if they’d just hit smaller markets in 50-100 screen rollouts in succession. Executive producer Walt Roloff perhaps got overly excited at the prospect of being able to boast the widest release ever for a “documentary.” But I think he’s just a teensy bit optimistic when he goes on to cheer that he thinks Expelled‘s numbers could exceed the $23.9 million opening weekend of Fahrenheit 9/11. After all, that movie had colossal pre-release hype going for it. Plus Michael Moore was feeding off a zeitgeist. And despite Roloff’s apparent beliefs to the contrary, there isn’t this groundswell of public outrage over some conspiracy theory about “Big Science” and its suppression of ID as there was in 2004 over the depredations of the Bush administration.

I must say, it will be interesting to sift through the rubble on Monday.


Amusingly, RT has logged a second positive review for the movie (against 20 pans), and this one is from Christianity Today, which you’d expect to be receptive. Yet even they admit the movie is scientifically empty: “…if you’re looking for ammo to argue your Darwinist friends under the table, look elsewhere.”

Court places liens on Fred Phelps’ church, office

Just caught this bit of news about America’s most hated hater. A federal judge on Thursday placed liens against the Westboro Baptist Church building, as well as its law office. This was done in the wake of a $5 million judgment against Westboro won by the family of slain Iraq veteran Matthew Snyder, whose funeral the scumbags picketed. Even if the Phelpses are driven into filing bankruptcy as a result of this, the article explains they still wouldn’t be protected from having to pay out the $2.1 million part of the judgment that constitutes punitive damages. Efforts are underway to determine what the church and the Phelpses are really worth. Yes, I know you could determine that just by examining the contents of your commode after a massive case of dysentery. I’m talking financially. With luck, they’ll be living under the same bridge soon.

Creationism’s latest epic fail

An axiom about creationists: These people can’t not lie. Mike Dunford over at The Questionable Authority has an excellent, in-depth three-part report (uno, dos, tres) about the recent summary judgment handed down in a lawsuit against the University of California filed by some Christian schools, who didn’t like the fact the U of C wasn’t allowing their asinine, falsehood-ridden creationist textbooks to be accorded the same degree of respect as actual science texts. The creationists accused the university of “viewpoint discrimination,” the latest favorite buzzword among the uneducated and stupid whenever they learn that their religious dogmas don’t automatically get a free pass in the hallowed halls of academe just by virtue of some appeal to “religious freedom.” The creos lost this one hard, and on hand to cement their epic fail was none other than doofus Michael Behe, who basically wrapped the case up in a little bow with glitter and gave it to the university.

Great reading and a wonderful primer in how creationists just can’t do anything right. Note the appearance in the comments to Part 3 of übertroll Larry Fafarman, who valiantly flails away at an attempt to spin the whole thing into not-such-a-loss-really for the Forces of Burning Stupid.

See, I’m not an “angry atheist”! You can’t buy this kind of comedy!

Mid-week schadenfreude

And another lying fundagelical scumbag goes down! Daniel Thompson ran a video store and online video club called Clean Flix, where people could rent “family friendly” versions of R-rated movies that Thompson had personally edited the sex and profanity out of. Thompson had already raised the ire of Hollywood for possible copyright violations in doing that. Now he’s charged with paying a 14-year-old girl for sex and has further embarrassed his supporters following the discovery of — all together now — a massive stash of porn he kept tucked away in his “family friendly” store. Police are now investigating whether the whole Clean Flix thing was a bogus front for distributing porn all along.

Chuckle along with the video report here.


Update: It gets nastier. According to the news item on IMDb, Thompson allegedly told one of the girls (there were two) that he and a buddy are charged with raping that “his business was actually a cover for a pornography studio and asked them to participate in making a porn movie.” Awesome.

Westboro scum slapped with $11 million judgment

Filthpig Fred Phelps and his gang of funeral-picketing ghouls have been ordered to pay the family of Lance Cpl. Matthew Snyder, killed in Iraq, nearly $11 million in damages as a result of a lawsuit brought by the slain veteran’s father.

Naturally, they will appeal, as the judge in the case fully (and, one assumes, cheerfully) admits that the award “far exceeds the net worth of the defendants.” Hell, that would be the case if Snyder’s family had been awarded a sack full of cat turds. Still, there are two ways to deal with Phelps and his disciples, it seems. Either walk up to them when they’re at their next picket and shoot each of them in the head (which, I suspect, would be frowned upon as overdoing it even by everyone who doesn’t like them), or keep bleeding them white with these suits until they can’t even afford to keep a vehicle to drive them all to their latest hate rally. Yeah yeah, free speech, whatever. If it’s their free speech to be dispicable swine, then I say it’s everyone else’s to counter them however they see fit. Remember, this kind of thing — hate speech, I mean — doesn’t so much take place in a “marketplace” of ideas as in a boxing ring. Phelps is free to don his gloves and jump in for a few rounds. But he shouldn’t snivel and whine if he gets TKO’d.

Let’s hope the appellate court has the decency to uphold the award, and isn’t swayed by the “but it’s our religion!” argument to rationalize antisocial behavior intentionally designed to inflict pain and suffering.

Do not eat before reading this

Another prominent Christian Right leader has been Vittered. The amusingly named Coy Privette, described as a “conservative lawmaker and outspoken advocate for Christian groups,” has been caught with his privettes where they shouldn’t be. The 74-year-old — and that alone is enough to kick the eewwww! factor into overdrive, kids — has been paying a disturbingly mannish looking prostitute for sex, and apparently lacking the sense not to give her a blank check. For those of you who think your battle-hardened stomachs can take anything, just be glad we can’t show you photos of the happy couple. There was a link here originally, but it’s since expired.

Like most sexual hypocrites among the fanatically religious, Privette had racked up an impressive history of passing laws punishing others for their misbehaviors, presumably as a way of assuaging feelings of guilt over his own. Or maybe, as with Vitter, God was always on hand for that helpful brand of insta-forgiveness right-wing Christian politicians seem to get so easily. In any case, even God can’t spare this holy fool from the harsh spotlight of embarrassment in the media. How many of these cretins are going to have to go down before people see through their righteous lies?